“Sweet Surrender: A Christmas Devotion” by Harold Kim

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.

Luke 1:31-33

I have yet to meet parents who were not allowed to name their child.

SunHi named our first daughter; I named our second.

In this passage, Mother Mary was not allowed to name her own, for an angel of the Lord commanded her in verse 31, “you shall call his name Jesus.”

In the Bible, naming demonstrates authority, ownership, manageable control. This explains why Jesus was not named but given the name that means “God saves”.

From the moment of His conception to birth, Jesus has never been under our control.

During the Advent season, would you consider how you try to keep Jesus under control?

Is Jesus someone you only consult but who never has final decision-making power?

Is Jesus there only to bless you and bail you out of trouble?

Do you negotiate the terms and conditions of what Jesus can and cannot do with you?

If so, you are insisting on keeping control, not surrendering to His. But see how Mother Mary surrendered to Jesus even before His birth.

She surrendered to a pregnancy without knowing when and how it would take place.

She surrendered to inevitable suspicion, mistrust, and possible breakup with her betrothed.

In all, Mary surrendered to radical risk and uncertainty – the very opposite of control. And as she did so, Christmas arrived. Jesus, God’s own son, was born from her womb!

Surrender sounds nice, even sweet, in a Sarah McLachlan song. But real surrender to Jesus means losing control of your life.

So why would anyone do that?  Because nobody surrendered more for you.

Jesus surrendered His family and home, every power, privilege, and comfort to take our sins.

Jesus was miraculously born human – so we might be born again of God.

Are you tired and worn down this year? Fearful and fretful over the future?

Christmas – the birth (and life) of Jesus – happens in you, as you surrender to the “Son of the Most High…and He will reign forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Under His reign, you’ll find “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”

Romans 14:17

today

I did not have a good day.

I barely made it home.

My breathing was labored and my head was hurting for all nine hours. I didn’t know how to process today.

I didn’t know what to say.

I didn’t have the courage to say hi.

I felt like such a loser.

I threw up last night.

I threw up in the morning

I threw up when I got home.

I did not have a good day – I hate that I’m like this sometimes.

seeking character (Exodus 4)

Exodus 4 brings us to a lesser known exchange between Moses and the Lord where God extends grace to doubt-filled Moses in the form of three signs.

First, Moses is commanded to throw his staff that immediately turns into a snake and then Moses is commanded to grab the tail as the snake is then turned back into a staff

Second, Moses is commanded to put his hand into his cloak. As he takes his hand back out, his hand is turned white as if it had leprosy but Moses is commanded to put his hand back into his cloak and when he takes his hand out, it was clean as if nothing had ever happened.

Finally Moses is commanded to go to Egypt but still Moses doubts and now he brings up an actual physical limitation. Moses has a speech impediment, and expresses doubt. God says that he will be with Moses but also says that He will send Aaron to speak for him.

I am guilty of this exchange. I look for God’s grace in the way and in the form that I want it. I make it a necessity and I find myself praying for something into existence. My stubbornness knows no bound – it has no limit.

These three forms – these three signs reveal our selfishness but also reveals God’s almighty power in existence and in revelation.

The first sign shows us God’s power over creation. He wills to create and destroy at will. The second sign shows God’s power over life and death. What we fear over the matter and idea of life and death, God has complete control over these matters and the demarcation between such matters. Finally, the third sign is God’s power over us. He knows us, He remembers us, and God always stand present with us in times of prosperity and times of need. His faithfulness, like our stubbornness, knows no bounds and stands far above and greater than our stubbornness and our selfishness.

Looking for the goodness of God means to seek His character so that we may know our creator just a little bit more; looking for God’s goodness does not mean we should selectively look for God’s favor just when we feel that we need or deserve it.

Snap out of it.

You deserve better, and God always offers something better. Don’t compromise to settle for lesser things.

cheers

faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness
O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not
Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been
Thou forever will be

Pardon for sin
And a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer
And to guide
Strength for today
and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
And all I have needed
Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

“Great is Thy Faithfulness” by Jimmy Needham

hitting where it hurts today

comfort my soul Lord

.bless